News: Health Insurance Now Required for Dubai Visitors
Starting in 2014, all visitors to Dubai are required to purchase government issued travel health insurance. The government has indicated that visitor visas will no longer be issued unless a travel health insurance certificate is purchased (*)
Plans have a maximum benefit of approximately $40,000USD, with a deductible of approximately $500USD for older visitors. The plan is government sponsored, and covers only minimal emergency accident and sickness. Emergency medical treatment will be handled by Dubai’s public health care system. Plans vary by duration of travel, starting as low as 30 days and going as high as 180 days.
Given that some travel health insurance claims can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would seem that the government’s intentions are to simply enforce a bare minimum of coverage on all visitors to the city. The government has indicated that private travel health insurance cannot be used as a substitute for this new plan. Travellers who are a bit more cautious should still consider their own emergency medical travel coverage from private providers such as Allianz Global Assistance in order to top up and enhance the minimal coverage provided by the government’s plan. (In other words, travellers cannot replace the mandatory plan, they can however supplement it).
Dubai is a fast growing city located in the United Arab Emirates. Its exponential growth has been powered by millions of blue collar workers outsourced from overseas. The new government policy requires that employers also provide this coverage to their employers, thus ensuring that this huge expatriate workforce has at least a bare minimum of emergency health and sickness coverage. Given that numerous mainstream media sources have complained about the minimum wage and substandard living conditions often provided to these immigrant workers, this new requirement is a vast step forward in providing minimum standards for them.
Health coverage for Dubai citizens is currently provided by the government, however, it’s estimated that immigrants make up 80% of the population and that less than half of them currently have any form of emergency medical coverage.(**)
The issue of mandatory health insurance in Dubai has been a source of confusion to many visitors as the topic has been raised since 2008. However, starting in early 2014, the government has mandated that the coverage will be required as a condition of all visitor visas issued. Part of the confusion may also stem from the fact that neighbouring states have had mandatory travel insurance coverage requirements for many years.
The coverage will be handled by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. It’s expected that implementation of the coverage will be arranged by visitor’s travel agents as part of their visa application. Dubai has also placed a portal online allowing visitors to check the status of their coverage.
(*)Source: Kaleej Times
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